Parenting is a tough business, and everyone has an opinion on how to do it (even if they don’t have children of their own). There can be a lot of criticism from others, and we often wonder if we’re doing a good job.
A while back, in a set of unusual circumstances, my eight-year-old daughter gave me her parenting tips. It was interesting to see life from her perspective and to have some honest feedback on what she thinks is going well and what she would like to see more of.
Parenting Tips From a Child’s Perspective
First on her list was to keep calm. Yes, this can be very difficult, especially on trying days when nothing seems to be going right. However, it is great advice. Take a deep breath, hold it, and breath out slowly. And repeat. Remind yourself that you want to set a good example of how you want your children to act and react. It can be hard, but things always have a much better outcome when you are calm, when the oxygen reaches your brain, and you can think clearly.
Be supportive. Being a child and not feeling that you have the support of your parents puts you in a lonely and uncertain place. If parents aren’t supportive children may feel that they can do no right, and that sets them up for a lifetime of insecurity. Raising a child who is confident starts at home. Of course, you may not support everything they want to do, but choose your guiding words carefully and don’t put up barriers to stop their personal growth.
Give children the freedom of responsibilities. My daughter says that parents do not have to do it all. Give your children age-appropriate chores to do. My daughter recommends sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, and helping in the kitchen. Having children help in the kitchen can take more time and create a bigger mess to clean up, but in the long run it will teach them life skills. Working together to prepare meals also gives you the opportunity to chat and connect, which is important for both of you.
Parenting Tip: You Don’t Have To Do Everything
Finally, she says that parents do not have to do everything. Don’t let life and homeschooling overwhelm you. I know we all try to do our best in every area of life and child-raising, but today, more than ever, this is a near-impossible task for many parents with the multiple hats we wear daily. Working, side-hustles, extra-curricular activities, house work, home education, and other responsibilities, it hardly leaves time to breathe. Try not to stress about everything, pick a different area each day to focus on.
Get help if you are able (including from your significant other and your children). Don’t spread yourself too thin; reduce commitments whenever possible. I find that because home educators are home all day, people tend to think we’re sitting around bored and should have the perfect house and plenty of free time, which is totally not the case. Don’t fall into that trap; put your family first and say no to anything that you need to.
Parenting is a tough business, with long hours and no pay (in fact, we pay a lot for the privilege), and it’s most often a thankless task. But it is the most important job on earth; to raise happy, healthy, and confident children into adulthood. Focus on the positive, work on the negative, and learn as you go along, asking your children for their thoughts, too.
I challenge you to ask your children for their parenting tips and to share them in the comments so we can all learn together.
Crystal McClean is a Canadian homeschooling her family in Northern Ireland. Her family loves to learn about culture and they find it fun to do this by reading books, creating activities and recipes as well as attending cultural events when they can. When she isn’t home with her family she’ll be at the writing letters at library, taking photos at the local camera club, or counting wildlife along the loughshore with friends. You can learn more about their adventures at Castle View Academy or follow along via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.